The Lundy conviction quashed

By   /   October 8, 2013  /   18 Comments

TDB recommends Voyager - Unlimited internet @home as fast as you can get

Lundy seemed like an unsympathetic fat guy who was crucified because he wasn’t particularly likable as opposed to being clearly guilty. The crowd love to vilify and bully fat people, and one who visited a prostitute was never going to win a charm award.

Lundy2
So the Privy Council has quashed the Lundy conviction and ordered a retrial. I was always surprised that Lundy was found guilty to be honest. The physical evidence required never seemed to add up, like the speeds he would have needed to have traveled to and from the murder scene, and the time it took for the food to be digested in the stomachs of the deceased and the so called brain matter found on his shirt – I don’t know, I always felt a bit queasy about his conviction.

Lundy seemed like an unsympathetic fat guy who was crucified because he wasn’t particularly likable as opposed to being clearly guilty. The crowd love to vilify and bully fat people, and one who visited a prostitute was never going to win a charm award.

What the decision has put into stark relief is the role of the Privy Council as a final check and balance to our judicial system. With so many reputations and egos at stake by those who build careers off the backs of convictions like this moving up through the ranks, it is highly unlikely those involved in such convictions will allow them to be overturned later on down the track. The Privy Council was an external check and balance that didn’t care about reputations or egos, it cared about Justice.

I’ve always thought that losing the Privy Council in a small country where mates look after mates was always a back step as far as Justice was concerned.

Beyond Lundy’s claim of innocence and the technical checks and balances of our legal system, a lovely little girl and loving Mother were terribly murdered. If Lundy has suffered a miscarriage of justice, their deaths just became more terrible.

Want to support this work? Donate today

***
Want to support this work? Donate today
***
Follow us on Twitter & Facebook
***

18 Comments

  1. Shane Gallagher says:

    And if he didn’t do it then the killer is presumably still walking around free?

    And is it my imagination or does there appear to be a lot of these kinds of miscarriages of justice? These things always stand out and so I may well be wrong… so I would be curious to learn from those who know more. 🙂

    • Merrial says:

      @ Shane Gallagher: the Privy Council found Lundy’s conviction to be “unsafe”. Such a finding doesn’t mean that Lundy is either innocent or guilty. In essence, the PC is saying: have another go; that’s why the case has been sent for re-trial.

      This is the same finding as was made in the Bain case.

  2. crone says:

    I disagree. Vilify and bully fat people? Supposition or personal sentiment? Sure the police stuffed up (once again) their investigation by trying to fit their opinion within the facts. What we are left with is coincidence…of all the houses in Palmerston North, it just happened to be Mrs Lundy & her daughter that were killed on the very night they were home alone. Careful planning takes care of logistics. Methinks he protesteth too much!

    • Richard Christie says:

      Vilify and bully fat people?

      Maybe you weren’t taking much notice at the time?

      Lundy was crucified in the popular press, particularly immediately post conviction, his obesity figured prominently in the process.

      Included assassination due to his behaviour at the funerals of his family. Fat man bad actor. At least they held that off at the service and waited until conviction.

      Scott Watson suffered even worse treatment, in his case, pre-trial, at the hands of Rob Pope and jonolist Cate Brett.

      Smearing strongly enough will ensure that even if the public harbour doubt over conviction, little support for the “deserving mongrel” will be forthcoming.

      • TheContrarian says:

        “Lundy was crucified in the popular press, particularly immediately post conviction, his obesity figured prominently in the process”

        Links?

  3. Ptera Daktyl says:

    Sadly those who “know more” are probably also the ones who want the truth to remain hidden.

  4. Draco T Bastard says:

    Dropping the Privy Council was something that was going to happen sooner or later. We aren’t going to be tied to England for too much longer.

    Getting the Supreme Court up and running is a start but it seems that what we really need is some sort of body that is independent of the police that goes over the police’s evidence to help ensure that such miscarriages of justice don’t occur.

    That said, nothing’s ever perfect so such things will continue to happen and so we also need to ensure that everyone has access to the means to appeal their sentence. This government is presently doing the exact opposite in it’s cutting of legal aid.

    • Tamati says:

      There was never any real reason for setting up the Supreme Court other than cutting ties with the mother country. Seemed to me Clark was just offering a fig leaf to the republicans in Labour.

    • YogiBare says:

      I can understand you not wanting to be tied to the Privy Council’s apron strings, but don’t you think NZ is just too small not to have the “old boy” network operating in our very own Supreme Court?

      • Tamati says:

        I think wherever you go Supreme Court judges will know each other. I’m sure even in Britain or Australia, there is a very select few.

        The ability to have a fresh of eyes, experienced under a very similar legal system, but not prejudiced by the New Zealand media or any other preconceptions was probably very valuable.

        Perhaps we should retain the Privy Council for criminal cases and keep the Supreme Court for civil?

  5. Merrial says:

    “Lundy seemed like an unsympathetic fat guy who was crucified because he wasn’t particularly likable as opposed to being clearly guilty. The crowd love to vilify and bully fat people, and one who visited a prostitute was never going to win a charm award.”

    I can’t agree with this. It seems to me that you may have either forgotten, or not have been aware of, the evidence presented at trial. There was a great deal more to tie him to the murders than solely the stomach contents evidence, or the disputed drive-time issue.

    As to what he was like as a person, aside from the prostitute issue, most of what we know about him didn’t come out until after he was convicted: there were a number of suppression orders applying during the trial, as I recall. Moreover, trial reporters usually give a precis only of what happens in court; readers of news items don’t get the whole picture of the evidence presented.

  6. Ovicula says:

    The fact that the colonial law fraternity will almost always look after each other and have a well developed old boys’ network is the best argument I know of for keeping the Privy Council.

  7. the pigman says:

    The argument that the NZ justice system is an old boy’s club and that this case somehow shows this overlooks two material factors:

    1) Elias CJ was sitting on the PC and the Board reached a unanimous decision (yes, that’s New Zealand’s Chief Judge allowing the appeal); and

    2) The previous Court of Appeal hearing didn’t have access to the knowledge that the prosecution hadn’t made disclosure to the defence of expert evidence they obtained. This was only discovered shortly before the PC hearing and was a substantial factor in the decision.

    As much as I’m loathe to see TDB descend into court of public opinion discussion, I think Brian Bruce (the guy who did the inequality documentary) nailed this pretty well a few years ago:

    i) the gastric contents evidence was shit, always was, but required the police to draw a very long bow on:

    a) the driving speed evidence; and
    b) the computer clock hacking evidence.

    ii) if Lundy came back from Petone and did this in the middle of the night, then both of those aspects become irrelevant; also

    iii) the new forensic evidence doesn’t get past the fact that the paint found on the impact wounds was the paint that Lundy had painted his tools with, tools which only he had access to.

    Oh, and the window breaking had been done from the inside. Why would a burglar break the bedroom window to leave when they could just walk out the front door?

    Nothing to do with fat shaming, either. Let’s just hope the police do their job properly this time.

    • Merrial says:

      @ The Pigman: exactly so.

    • MArk says:

      Also, what about the brain tissue found on Lundys clothes? The defense argued it was not proved that this belonged to his wife or daughter? If this is the case then who’s brain tissue did Lundy have on his shirt and how did it get there?